Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fun in the Sun

This summer has already had so many ups and downs and we are only in week three! With high attendence and a mixture of return kids and new attendees we have been wrestling with discipline issues almost on a daily basis. We have a strong discipline process in place that we passionately believe in, yet we are learning so much about something we thought we already knew so well. Different kids in different situations call for new approaches to our tried and true process. The best part of making this process work is that we get to watch God work on the kids' hearts through redemption. Also fun are the field trips we get to offer as rewards to those kids who have shown good behavior, consistent attendance and growth.

On Friday we got to take 7 kids swimming at a state park pool.
We had a great time...

Then on Saturday several kids were invited to go fishing. Only 2 were able to go, but they had a blast anyway.

Also on Friday evening we had a neighborhood cookout at our house! This wasn't a reward activity, but was open to everyone in our neighborhood. We didn't see as many adults from our neighborhood as we had hoped, but we had lots of kids and had a good time!


For all of those who are wondering...we are not under water here in North St. Louis! However, there are a lot of areas near us that are being affected by the flood. On Saturday evening Andrew and I went downtown to the arch, which is right next to the Mississippi, and this is what we saw...
...the river has crested here near the arch, but it is still far enough from our house that we will not be affected. But there are lots of people who are being affected and we continue to get rain here in the midwest!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer is Here!

We are well into our second week of our Summer Program! What a week and a half it has been! We have already worked with over 30 kids and are close to maxing out our student to leader ratio every day! This has never happened so quickly in any of our programs.

Teaching a bible lesson in our backyard.

We run Backyard Bible Club each Monday-Thursday from 1-3pm, rotating locations between all three of our staff houses. Then from 4-6pm each day we run club at our ministry center. Then, Fridays give us an opportunity to take kids on field trips who have earned enough points through attendance and good behavior. Our first swim field trip was cancelled due to rain, but we improvised and took the few kids who had earned it to the movies and had a wonderful time. Our first neighborhood cookout was also canceled due to rain, but we are praying for good weather this week so that the field trip and cookout at our house will not be cancelled.

Singing our "Keep it REAL" rap up at the ministry center.

We believe that God has great things planned for this summer! Please pray with us for God to work mightily in the hearts of the kids who come to our program!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June Update

June 1, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

It is not at all unusual for Andrew and me to be solicited for drugs in our neighborhood. Recently we went on a walk to get some much needed exercise and were flagged down by a guy in a red sedan who was eager to offer us his services. “Oh, no thanks,” we replied, waiting until he had driven off to laugh about how frequently this occurs. Only minutes later a cop car drove by us for the third time as he kept an eye on our course throughout the neighborhood. We waved to him, hoping our friendly faces would convince him we were up to nothing nefarious.

Another time when local police were concerned about our presence they pulled over in front of our house and asked, “Do you live here?” And yet another time they asked warily, “Do you know what this neighborhood is about?” referring to the rampant drug activity (of which they initially thought we were a part). To each question our answer was yes, we do live here and we are not na├»ve about some of the things that go on in our neighborhood.

The fact is that being white in our community comes along with several assumptions on the part of those who do not know us: we are either here for drugs or here to give hand outs, as several local organizations are known to do. We are here for neither. It can be funny and also frustrating to constantly come up against these assumptions, but it always leaves the door open for further conversation. If we are not here for drugs and we are not here to just give hand outs…then what are we here for?

Not unlike the assumption of some in our community that we are here for drugs, people from the outside looking in often assume that the drugs and violence and crime are why we are here. We are not here because of the drugs and violence and crime, we are here in spite of these things to speak a message of love and healing to people whom God cares about. The police officer who asked us if we knew what this neighborhood is about, however well intentioned he was, at the moment, had a very limited view of this community. God has a plan for the people of North St. Louis and we must all look past skin color and drug deals and violence to see what God is orchestrating for this community, for all of us, as participants in His plan of redemption.

We are so excited when we have new people to wave to as we take our walks, but even more exciting is when we have the opportunity to share with them why we are here—whether they are a new neighbor, a drug dealer, or a local police officer. Along with asking “do you live here” on that one occasion, that particular officer asked a few why questions as well. Andrew’s response was that God called us to live here and serve the community. Almost in disbelief the officer shook his head and said, “It must’ve been God who called you here.” Indeed it was and it truly is exciting to be sharing in a part of His plans for North St. Louis. Please continue to pray for our community and for our ability to be bold witnesses of the love of Christ to our neighbors.

For His Kingdom, Andrew and Adria Medlen

Monday, June 9, 2008

A New Medlen

For those of you who know me (Adria), you will be quite shocked by the news that we have a new family member. His name is Studebaker. He is a dog. An outside dog.

Medlen Family Reunion

There was fun had by all...

motorcycle rides & crazy hats

hiking & piggy back rides
fun nieces & grandpa on a tree swing
family time
camping & tractor rides
crazy hair & beautiful scenery
...the Medlen Family Reunion of 2008!